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Girls Inc., to Host 16 Days of Activism Workshops

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In a world where girls are pressured into being a myriad of things beyond their control, it is no wonder many grow up to be women continuing to succumb to these pressures. Enter Girls Inc., of Northern Alberta, which always does outstanding work to help girls successfully face and eliminate these pressures through timely programming. Their recent initiative – 16 Days of Activism starting on November 24, 2021 is definitely one such example.

A series of four #Girlstoo free virtual workshops geared at girls 10 and over, the goal is to give “participants the skills and knowledge to ‘act’ for the16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10). It is an annual global call to action to end gender-based violence – any form of harm against persons based on their gender identity, how they express themselves or existing stereotypes. Building on #MeToo, #GirlsToo is a movement in and of itself. It calls out that #MeToo is not just an 18+ movement. Respect starts young. Girls Inc. is committed to preventing gender-based violence and advocating for gender equality because we know that all girls can experience violence and inequality,” explains Nanase Tonda, Executive Director, Girls Inc., of Northern Alberta.

The workshops, which will be capped at 30 participants will address: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Rights and - Canada’s issues; Supporting Survivors; Islamophobia and Allyship as well as Media and Gender-Based Violence. Kits will be delivered to participants for hands-on activities.

“Each workshop will touch on a different topic, chosen for timeliness and relevancy so that girls can learn actionable life skills to build on. The topics have also been extracted from our 12 sessions of the #GirlsToo program, so that those who haven’t experienced our programming can have a sense of what Girls Inc. is all about,” continues Tonda, who has been with the group for over three years.

“While gender-based violence affects anyone, some experience it more frequently and in more distinct ways than others – particularly girls and gender-diverse youth. Notably, the magnitude of their experience varies depending on how intricately gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender overlap and intertwine with different factors contributing to the sense of safety. These include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, living conditions, health, mobility, accessibilities, exceptionalities, religion, citizenship, history and more.”

“Our #GirlsToo program tackles this complex issue head-on. This program offers age-appropriate education to prevent, recognize and address gender-based violence of various forms and levels. It facilitates opportunities for girls to learn self-defense strategies while helping to build their self-confidence. Participants, including gender-diverse youth will learn what to do when/if they face gender-based violence. Through arts-based advocacy, they will learn how to advocate for a cultural shift towards healing, empowerment, supporting survivors, and ending gender-based violence – individually and collectively,” adds Tonda.

According to The Canadian Women’s Foundation. a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada “6,000+ women and children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home…30% of all women age 15 or older report experiencing sexual assault at least once…And, almost 7 times – is the rate at which Indigenous women are killed compared to the rate of non-Indigenous women,” to name just a few facts. As abovementioned, this timely advocacy needs to start young.

If you need more reasons, Tonda says, girls should attend the workshops, because the group’s programs are “developed with a focus on fun and camaraderie. We strive to host our initiatives in an open, safe, non-judgmental, as well as fun space to discuss issues much needed to enhance the development of youth.”

Register for the workshops here.


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.